Conrad Lindblom

Conrad Lindblom

New course at UFV offers gateway to grazing with goats

Goat grazing is a great way for young people to launch an agricultural business, even with very little capital, says instructor

Targeted goat grazing for weed control could become an exciting new career opportunity for some in the Fraser Valley.

Conrad Lindblom, owner of Rocky Ridge Vegetation Control, is coming back to Chilliwack this month to offer a course at UFV with the Agriculture faculty on how to use goats to manage unwanted vegetation.

“There is a lot of interest in the area,” Lindblom said.

He put out some feelers last year, after doing some goat grazing trials with the Fraser Valley Invasive Plant Council, and City of Chilliwack. The goats mowed down some Himalayan blackberry and Japanese knotweed patches.

Lindblom has a goal of seeing the goat-chomping industry take off and attract a whole host of new herd operators.

“I had quite a few phone calls from the Fraser Valley after I was here last year,” he told The Progress.

He’s hoping to spur even more interest across the region with the Goat Grazing course that starts on Feb. 14.

“It’s a great way for young people to start an agricultural business, even with very little capital at the outset,” he said.

They need more similar companies to start up because there is so much work out there, both large and small contracts.

People can start up with as few as 30 to 50 goats, he said.

Weed control using hungry goats is seen as a less toxic alternative to herbicides, and in some cases preferable.

“While targeted grazing might not be effective for every invasive weed, there are situations where the alternative, specifically herbicides, is not desirable,” said Agriculture professor Renee Prasad.

“In this case targeted grazing offers land owners another option. However, the outcomes may be very different in terms of eradication versus suppression, and the length of time required.”

‘Targeted Goat Grazing’ is a four-day course that will run Feb. 14-17 at University of the Fraser Valley from the Canada Education Park campus, with a new course offered each day: goat training/herding, invasive plant biology, evidence-based practice, and developing a business plan.

Students can take all four courses to complete the program, or just take one or two.

The goat grazing course, running 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily, will give students the tools, skills and key elements of management planning.

Morning sessions will be focused on theory and background, and afternoons will feature practical applications.

More information by email to: parttimetrades@ufv.ca

Registration deadline is February 5.